In one month I’ll be attending a workshop for writers of books for young people. It’s a highly recommended conference, and the tuition isn’t cheap, so I’m trying to work hard on my manuscript submission so I can get the best feedback. Or, at least that’s what I’m hoping. There’s always the chance that all feedback will be hopelessly non-useful stuff like “this paragraph has good flow.” In fact, I had one writing prof in college who forbade everyone from using the word “flow” when critiquing a classmate’s work. Really, think about it — all “good flow” means is “I was easily able to pass my eyes from one word to the next.” Yargh.
I’m nervous and stressed out about this, which is causing me to work at a slower pace than usual, since I’m paying more attention to sentence-level construction. My thoughts about my work waver between confidence (“Now that’s a metaphor a girl can be proud of!”) to dismal self-doubt (“I’ve just constructed a passage of dialogue wooden enough for me to beat my head against it”).
The stress is beginning to leak into my dreams. A few nights ago I dreamt that a group of editors came to my house to discuss purchasing my book. After spending a long time criticizing the untidy state of my house, they settled down in a circle on the floor of my son’s room to talk about particulars.
Most of them wanted to buy my book, but under one condition: they felt that the book would sell more copies if they changed its title to “Mashed Potatoes.”
Which I felt was silly. Everyone knew that the title of my book was “Hash Browns.” It would be too confusing to change it to “Mashed Potatoes.”
I woke up laughing at myself and wondering if I’d been eating too much starch.
Just for the record, my book’s title is The Blind Prince. (There! I said it!)